Today is February 13, but it feels like Groundhog Day. Here we are, back again, facing the prospect of devastating cuts from sequestration.
Families in Oregon don't understand why Members of Congress can't seem to set aside their differences and get things done; and, frankly, neither do I. We don't want to see these devastating cuts go into effect. We don't want to see a government shutdown. We don't want to tell the children that they have to have even more students in their already-crowded classrooms or explain to senior citizens that the Meals on Wheels they rely on might not be delivered. We don't want to see cuts to food safety or air traffic control or maritime and border security.
We're in the home stretch, racing towards yet another deadline, but instead of sitting at the bargaining table, we're headed out for recess.
In Oregon alone, sequestration would kick more than 900 kids out of Head Start programs that make a difference in their school readiness. It would trigger a 9 percent cut in Federal funding to Oregon's public university system, slashing student aid and ongoing research and development. Law enforcement agencies throughout the country would lose the equivalent of 1,000 Federal agents, 1,300 prison officers, and more than 5,000 Border Patrol personnel. Small businesses across the Nation would lose more than $540 million in loan guarantees.
Despite the talk of uncertainty, our economy really is poised to take off, but it can't do that if Congress decides to take off from work. It's sad but true: The biggest obstacle to economic growth tomorrow is congressional foot-dragging today.
We've been governing by crisis for too long. It's time to rally around common sense. It's time to take a seat at the bargaining table. And most of all, it's time to get back to work.
No sequestration deal, no recess.